August 14, 2003 Subject:
How to Build a car
Nice looking filn focusing on Automobile design, from the initial idea to the show cars. What I really found interesting in this filn was the model cars built purely out of clay. I am unsure whether this practice is common today, or whether they just build the whole thing from metal now. All in all, worth a look.
Traces the birth of a car from the drawing board to the roads of the world. Shows how 140,000 people take an idea, seen first in rough pencil sketches, and translate it into a new product. Millions of operations are condensed kaleidoscopically into half an hour of film
Ken Smith sez: "Mankind passes from the old to the new on a Human Bridge formed by those who labor." With these stirring words, attributed to Henry Ford, we're whisked away into the story of "the three principal arts" (Agriculture - Manufacture - Transportation) as they're applied to the creation of the very unmemorable (at least in my humble opinion) 1949 Ford. An angelic choir "ahhh-ahhhhhs" on the soundtrack as the narrator reminds us repeatedly that we're witnessing "the drama of transition -- from the old to the new."
It's interesting to see how much of this film the JHO ripped off when they made American Look; in particular the entire new model development sequence, right down to the top secret Off Limits stylist door being unlocked. "New horizons and freedom of movement spring to life at a touch!"
Good shots of executives calling each other on hand-built speakerphones (one is Henry Ford II); an ice-embedded car undergoing a "freeze test"; a dream-cars-of-the-future montage; an aerial tracking shot over a giant drafting room filled with men; molten, fiery steel; a woman at a candy machine; a man with a stamp album; blacks and some women on the assembly line; and a gang of kids wearing Ford t-shirts running toward the camera.
Partial shot list:
VS River Rouge plant and vicinity, near Detroit, Michigan
CUs Legs, feet, people walking to work at Ford plant
Henry Ford II driving to his office, walking into building, at desk making telephone call to Harold Youngren (a Ford executive in charge of design)
VS Ford executives looking at car plans and sketches
Entrance to Ford "Styling" department, all mahogany-paneled; man uses key to enter restricted area
VS designers working on various dream cars or futuristic car designs (good)
Pan over CUs of various dream car designs for Ford, Lincoln-Mercury and truck divisions (good)
VS 1949 Ford prototypes on test track, proving grounds
VS ext night shots of disguised 1949 Ford test driving on streets (all chrome has been painted black and front of automobile is obscured)
Shot of disguised 1949 model test driving in Arizona
LS huge rooms filled with draftsmen (good)
VS molten steel
MS and LS molten steel pouring into ladle
VS African American workers in foundry
VS sand cores, motor castings; shots of foundry processes
VS African American and white workers on assembly line
VS glass workers
VS women workers (testers and small parts assemblers)
VS women hydraulic press operators
CU candy machine
MS woman buying candy bar from machine in factory
SIGN: "Ford Motor Co. Employee Recreation Center"
workers playing cards
Children, all wearing "Ford" T-shirts, run towards camera (great shot)
Train running by Detroit plant
Body finishing and spraypainting
Final assembly sequence (good)
Body drop for "woodie" station wagon (wooden body)
Putting tires on "woodie"
Cars go thru headlight adjustment machine, leaving factory (good)
Cars loaded onto trailers for transport to dealers
LS Henry Ford II getting out of new white 1949 Ford, looking at it
1949 Ford leaving tunnel at Waldo Grade, U.S. Highway 101, Marin County, California
1949 Ford on Golden Gate Bridge heading into San Francisco
1949 Ford by Big Ben, London, England
Woodie station wagon in desert
1949 Ford driving on Western ranch
Old man looks at 1949 Ford, shakes head in (disbelief?), gets into his Model T and drives away; 1949 Ford on highway overtakes Model T, old man waves to driver of 1949 Ford.
car auto Henry Ford II future labor automobile industry industr DESIGN TECHNICAL STYLING ENGINEER
DESIGN STYLING LEISURE RECREATION WOMEN SEX rolls steel foundry model textile fabric clay stamp candy machine freeze ice cold draft stamp kid child t-shirt black african-american
Partial transcript of narration (styling sequence only):
As yet, no one knows what the car designed from the inside out is going to look like, but they're dreaming practical dreams on the subject. Dreams that are kept under lock and key.
Designers are getting these dreams down on paper, drawing outlines around them and filling them in with color.
Is this the car? Is this what it will look like? Well, perhaps the sweep of a fender, the curve of a top, the lines of a hood, perhaps one segment of a form will develop after weeks of capturing dream cars on paper.
Finally, they arrive at something that may be a composite of the visions in half a hundred fertile minds.
This is worth developing. This may be the body outline that is to be familar on every street and every road in the land.
It's a long time now since the idea first went down on paper. The idea takes form and dimension in quarter scale. It's time to shape it up full-size in clay so other minds can work on it, so they can walk around it and talk about it.
Something else has happened to the original dream. They've broken it down to the fine points and other people are having ideas on the details.
So the idea travels and grows, taking shape in the feel and texture of fabric,
taking color from studies from what people like, studies in fine variations of shades.
Finally the idea is approaching full form and they spray color on the clay models, color and trim to get them ready for the hour of decision.
In less than a year, the idea has come a long way. We have developed to two full-size clay versions of it and the men who will guide the production of the car, the men who will advertise it and sell it have the final say at this point.
They have to study the idea and think how will it look in the show room, how will it look on the highway, going shopping down Elm Street, driving to the picnic on Sunday afternoon, how will it look parked in the driveway, how much will it cost?
They make the final decision and the idea is on its way to becoming an automobile. But it's an automobile still a long way from production.